With many questioning the rules governing some of the measures that have now become law following the passage of the economic support package through Parliament, the Australian Taxation Office has set up a one-stop shop for essential tax and super information on COVID-19 stimulus measures.
Commissioner of Taxation Chris Jordan acknowledged that many people are being heavily affected by the challenging economic conditions created by the outbreak of COVID-19, and that the ATO is standing by ready to help where it can.
“In these difficult and uncertain times, the ATO is doing everything it can to reduce stress from tax and super-related obligations,” Mr Jordan said.
The ATO’s coronavirus page provides easy-to-understand and detailed information about giving individuals early access to their superannuation; providing cash-flow assistance for employers; increasing the instant asset write-off, making more businesses eligible; and backing business investment by accelerating depreciation deductions.
“Each of the measures have different timings, eligibility and processes. Some will be applied automatically and others will require an application, so I recommend heading to ato.gov.au/coronavirus to understand what is possible,” Mr Jordan said.
He reminded the community of other options available to assist businesses impacted by COVID-19, announced earlier by the Tax Office. These include:
- Deferring by up to six months the payment date of amounts due through the business activity statement (including PAYG instalments), income tax assessments, fringe benefits tax assessments and excise.
- Allowing businesses on a quarterly reporting cycle to opt in to monthly GST reporting in order to get quicker access to GST refunds they may be entitled to.
- Allowing businesses to vary pay-as-you-go (PAYG) instalment amounts to zero for the March 2020 quarter. Businesses that vary their PAYG instalment to zero can also claim a refund for any instalments made for the September 2019 and December 2019 quarters.
- Remitting any interest and penalties, incurred on or after 23 January 2020, that have been applied to tax liabilities.
- Working with affected businesses to help them pay their existing and ongoing tax liabilities by allowing them to enter into low-interest payment plans.
- Businesses wanting to utilise any of these options can contact us over the coming weeks. It is not necessary for businesses to contact us immediately.
- Employers will still need to meet their ongoing super guarantee obligations for their employees.
Outside of business, the ATO said it will also work with individuals experiencing financial hardship, and their tax agents, and will apply appropriate tax relief measures for serious and exceptional circumstances, such as where people cannot pay for food or accommodation.
“If you’re impacted by COVID-19, and require immediate assistance, contact us to request support on our Emergency Support Infoline 1800 806 218. If you do not require immediate assistance, you can contact us when you’re ready to discuss your situation,” Mr Jordan said.